As we bid a fond farewell to 2018, the editors at SnoCountry take a look at the news that shaped skiing and riding at mountain resorts across North America over the year.
Here’s a sample road trip for those who have purchased an Epic Pass, have a week or two on the loose, and are ready to ski and ride across the West without having to shell out for a day ticket.
Those in the market for 2018-19 season passes at Vermont resorts still have time to save big, thanks to fall deadlines on some of the best deals in the business.
Above compact base area, mountain spreads out. (Kirkwood/Facebook)
Though less than an hour from the glitz and glamor of South Lake Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort couldn’t be a more unlikely neighbor. Stuffed up at the head of a box canyon, the mountain known as “The Wood” retains an old-school, bare-bones flavor that, despite ownership by Vail, emphasizes good skiing and riding over amenities (i.e., cell service is iffy).
Epic skiing and riding under the orange bubble chair at Okemo. (Okemo/Facebook)
Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire, Okemo, Vermont and Crested Butte, Colorado have entered into a multi-year season pass partnership with Vail Resorts and the Epic Pass, bringing the total number of Epic Pass mountain resorts to 64 in eight countries.
Epic Pass expands your horizons. (Epic Pass/Facebook)
The initial price of $899 is the same, but there’s plenty to choose from as the major multi-resort players put their best face forward in the season pass wars.
Kicking Horse's famous powder joins Epic. (Kicking Horse/Facebook)
Update March 6: Vail Resorts has released early season pricing for the 2018-19 Epic Pass, coming in at $899 ($469 kids 5 to 12) for unlimited access to all 15 Vail Resorts-owned destinations.
Steeps can be had with Epic Pass. (Telluride/Facebook)
Telluride has become the latest ski and snowboard resort to enter the season pass fray with the recent announcement that the southwest Colorado mountain will be part of the Epic Pass program.
The Epic Pass now offers unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe. (Stowe/Facebook)
Sunny riding ahead for Stowe. (Stowe/Facebook)
On the heels of the news that Vail Resorts will be buying Stowe, buyers of the Epic Pass can now count Vermont as one of their destinations next winter. Vermont and the Northeast will be watching how this new pass offering will play out amidst the many other options for skiers and riders looking to maximize their time on the snow.
More rides at Winter Park with Rocky Mountain Super Pass (Winter Park/Facebook)
Consolidation is the byword for the winter resort industry these days, and means plenty of multi-resort passes to fit to your habits when the snow flies.
Here’s SnoCountry’s survey of some of the most popular:
M.A.X. Pass. Stands for “max alpine experience” with five days at any of 44 North American resorts. Costs $629 for adults, or $329 if you already have a season pass at one of the resorts. Pay off before May 1 with $49 down payment. Ideal for wandering powder hounds or retirees with time on their hands.
Mountain Collective, Get two days each at 16 resorts – from Revelstoke to Sugarbush – for $399 while supply lasts ($1 under 13). Half price for additional days plus one third day free.
Epic Pass. From flagship Vail Mountain, skiers and riders pay $859 for unlimited time at 13 Vail-owned resorts (plus once-owned Arapahoe Basin) around the world. A half-dozen machinations go more local in Colorado and Tahoe or limit the time.
The Peak Pass. Unlimited time at seven mountains in the Northeast included for $599 (till April 30). Other varieties accommodate youths, have blackouts or limit to midweek. Discounts too across Midwest.
Cali4nia Pass. SoCal buddies Mammoth and June, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain charge $849 until April 3 for unlimited skiing and riding. Show the pass at Mountain Collective resorts and get half off.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass. Unlimited at Winter Park, Copper and Eldora for early $529 price, with multiple days at Crested Butte, Steamboat and Alyeska. Tons of discounts accompany the pass.
Ski Utah Passes. Pay $4,000 and ski or ride 50 days total at any of Utah’s 14 resorts. For less, get 30 days or a single day on each mountain.
New England Pass. For $1,099 through April 30, get all you want at Sunday River, Loon Mountain and Sugarloaf. Less costly deals cut cost for collegians or midweek-ers, or include blackouts.
Scenes like this one at Mammoth make combo passes enticing. (Sean Engie)
Thanks to ski-resort consolidations and new partnerships, there are so many combo or multi-area season passes now that it can be delightfully difficult to decide which pass to get.
Perisher Ski Resort in New South Wales, Australia, is the first international resort to be acquired by Vail Resorts. The Colorado-based company said Monday it had acquired Perisher for total cash consideration of AU $176.6 million (approximately US $136 million), subject to certain adjustments.
Bargains abound for skiers and riders who can hit the road to get on the slopes at a variety of resorts next season. Also for those with itchy feet, a trio of multi-resort, multi-day passes give riders and skiers up to five days at a variety of resorts in both the East and the West.
It started in the 1990s in Colorado when ski areas like Winter Park and Copper Mountain, in a bid to stay competitive with a rapidly expanding Vail Resorts conglomerate, started experimenting with discounted season ski passes.
Vail Resorts has announced an epic partnership with the one of the most famous ski regions in the world, Arlberg, Austria, home to legendary mountain resorts of St. Anton, Lech-Zürs, St. Christoph and Stuben.
Vail Resorts has announced that Eldora Mountain Resort west of Boulder will be added to the ski company’s Epic Pass unrestricted season ski pass next ski season.